Salmon producers in Northern Norway were bracing for more losses after dead fish were found this week in four fish farming facilities around Tromsø. Tests showed traces of a natural algae that kills the fish, but fishing authorities think the situation was under control.
Salmon farming operations in Troms and Nordland counties were hit hard by the algae (chrysochromulina), resulting in the loss of nearly 8 million salmon since mid-May. Alarms rang again when the algae was documented at farms around the island of Kvaløya, northwest of Tromsø.
Hilde Hamnes, regional director for the state fisheries directorate, told state broadcaster NRK on Wednesday that no additional dead fish had been found in the past 24 hours though. She noted that the algae is “unpredictable,” moving with the currents after an unusual blossoming in May, “so we’re following the situation closely.”
Salmon producers who lost most of their salmon after the algae clogged the the fish’s gills are receiving insurance compensation for only a fraction of their losses. Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that one company, Gratanglaks, is getting only NOK 6 million after losing around 500,000 salmon valued at NOK 150 million, because of huge deductibles. Fish farms typically don’t insure the sale value of their salmon, rather just their own production costs. Many salmon producers have said, however, that they had no intention of seeking a state bailout like farmers do when hit by natural disasters.